Glove Testing Demystified – Tensile Strength and Ultimate Elongation

Glove Testing Demystified - Tensile Strength and Ultimate Elongation

Glove material strength and stretch are important factors in a glove’s quality and performance. Medical and cleanroom gloves undergo testing according to ASTM D412 to meet International standards. This ensures you get a glove that is not prone to tear or fail, and has adequate stretch.

What is ASTM D412?

ASTM D412 is one of over 12,000 standards that operate globally under ASTM International. The current version of the standard is D412-06a(2013) Tensile Properties of Vulcanized Rubber and Thermoplastic Elastomers – Tension.

In this standard, glove material is measured for tensile stress (or tension,) tensile strength, yield point and ultimate elongation.

The Tests

InstromIn Test Method A, a die cut “dumbbell” shaped piece of glove material is stretched from either end by a machine at a constant speed until it breaks. The computer on the machine collects the data as the piece is stretched. Once the piece breaks, the sample’s elongation is measured and recorded.

The test is repeated on samples that have been put through the accelerated aging process in heating chambers according to ASTM D573. This test simulates the glove’s physical properties at the end of its shelf life. This is a “worst case” scenario. Many gloves that have been stored properly, in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, heat and humidity, will have better strength and elongation than the “after aging” test results.

Tensile strength is measured in MPa, or megapascals. The minimum tensile strength for latex exam gloves before aging is 18 MPa, and 14 MPa after aging. The minimum tensile strength for nitrile exam gloves is 14 MPa both before and after aging.

The minimum elongation for latex gloves before aging is 650%, and 500% after aging. Nitrile gloves have a minimum elongation of 500% before aging, and 400% after aging.

Typical Performance vs. ASTM Minimums

Most gloves, however, are manufactured with much higher tensile strength and elongation properties than the ASTM minimums. The typical performance of HandPRO® RoyalTouch300™ Nitrile Exam Gloves during its shelf life, for example, is a tensile strength of 28-32 MPa and an ultimate elongation of 520 – 560%.

HandPRO® Cleanroom gloves are also manufactured to exceed ASTM minimums. HandPRO® Series 9100 Clean Class 100 Nitrile Gloves have a typical tensile strength of 27.1 – 31.0 MPa after aging, and a 540-560% ultimate elongation after aging.

Tensile Strength and Elongation in Use

So what do these numbers mean for you when selecting and wearing gloves?

While high tensile strength is preferred, the “highest” number does not necessarily mean “best” performance. Glove manufacturers must carefully balance strength with stretch and comfort. Too high tensile strength will make a glove stiff or difficult to don.

Elongation is important to the performance of the glove. High elongation helps the glove material stretch instead of tear when snagged. A glove with good elongation will stretch and conform to your hand, improving comfort and performance.

Powder-Free Exam Glove Choices – Chlorinated vs. Polymer-Coated

Chlorinated vs. Polymer Coated Gloves

When disposable exam gloves first came into high demand, most gloves were powdered. Without the powder, gloves were difficult to don and doff. But cornstarch powder became a problem. Today, powder-free exam gloves are the healthcare industry standard.

So how do glove manufacturers make a glove donnable without cornstarch powder?

Glove factories employ one of two treatments – chlorination or polymer coating.

Chlorinated Disposable Gloves

In the online chlorination process, exam gloves on formers are dipped in a dilute chlorine solution. This reduces surface friction and tack on the interior of the glove. The glove is then washed in an aqueous ammonia solution, then washed in water and dried. The result is a strong glove that dons easily, with a surface pH close to that of water.

Double-chlorinated gloves receive this treatment on both the inside and the outside of the glove. These gloves are smooth with low tack and suitable for double-donning.

Chlorination is desirable in disposable latex gloves. The process significantly reduces the level of extractable latex proteins, making the glove less likely to cause latex allergy in the wearer. Nitrile exam gloves are chlorinated when no polymer coating is preferred.

Polymer-Coated Disposable Gloves

In this newer process, a polymer coating is applied to the interior surface of the glove, giving it a smooth finish for fast and easy donning. The coatings normally used on medical gloves include hydrogels, acrylics, silicone polymer, polyurethane, polymer-blends and nitrile.

Polymer coatings are odor-neutral and promote consistent, even color. Most white nitrile exam gloves are polymer coated, as chlorination causes yellowing.

In latex gloves, polymer coatings provide a barrier between the latex glove material and the wearer, helping to limit the migration of latex protein.

Both chlorination and polymer coatings are effective at creating a glove that dons and doffs easily. Done correctly, both processes yield gloves that exceed FDA and ASTM standards for hand protection.

Nanotechnology and Your Gloves – Are You Safe?

Nanotechology and Your Gloves - Are You Safe?

A temporary tattoo that monitors blood glucose levels. A new biomaterial that can potentially rebuild worn tooth enamel. A 3D printed titanium jaw implant. It all sounds rather sci-fi, but all of it is made possible by the booming field of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale to create new materials or devices. There are a vast range of applications from organic chemistry and molecular biology, to semiconductor physics and microfabrication.

By late 2013 there were over 1600 consumer products on the market made possible by nanotechnology, and it is estimated that by the end of 2014, about 15% of all products were impacted by this new and fast growing science.

Engineered Nanoparticles and Worker Safety

With trillions of dollars going to nanotech research and product development, the nanotechnology workforce is also rapidly growing. By 2020 it is projected that there will be a workforce of some 6 million worldwide, with 2 million of that being in the U.S.

Nanotechnology workers handle the tiniest of matter – just 1-100 nanometers. Many of these engineered nanomaterials (ENMs,) also called engineered nanoparticles (ENPs,) have properties unique from their larger counterparts. This brings a whole new set of challenges for worker health and safety.

Materials considered safe at their historical size could become hazardous in their new nano form. Because so much is unknown about the risks associated with ENPs, The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) is recommending that all ENPs be considered hazardous. Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified nanosized titanium dioxide (nTiO2) in 2B-group as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

To protect themselves, workers handling nTiO2 wear protective gloves. Is this enough?

Researchers Study ENPs and Gloves

Researchers in Montreal, Canada wanted to know which gloves efficiently protect against titanium dioxide nanoparticles in work conditions. Their study, published last fall, shed some interesting light on the ability of nano-sized particles to get past some trusted barriers.

The study tested two nitrile gloves at different thicknesses identified as NBR-100 (.10 mm thick) and NBR-200 (.20 mm thick,) a latex glove (thickness unknown,) and a non-disposable butyl rubber glove. Each glove was then brought into contact with nTiO2 in water, in propylene glycol, and in powder. The simulated work conditions in the test were equivalent to about 3 hours wearing time for the nitrile and latex gloves, and 7 hours for the non-disposable butyl glove.

“The results are different depending on the glove models and the nTiO2 application mode. Table 1 summarizes the efficiency of all the protective gloves studied against nTiO2.

 

Table 1. Efficiency of protective gloves
NBR-100 NBR-200 Latex Butyl rubber
nTiO2 in water Poor Good Good Good
nTiO2 in PG Good Good Good Good
nTiO2 in powder Weak Good Good Poor

 

In the case of NBR-200, the thickness has a major role as barrier whereas for latex gloves, the chemical composition seems to be the main actor in the efficiency. Some tests are needed to confirm the results obtained with nTiO2 in powder. So we need for further investigations but for the moment, great care must be taken in selecting protective gloves for the handling nTiO2. It is already possible to recommend a frequent replacement of gloves in case of exposure to nTiO2.”

The study also noted that the “micrometer-sized surface features” – pores, cracks and platelets in the gloves – “may facilitate the penetration of nTiO2 through protective gloves.”

Not noted in the study was the gloves’ Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) for holes. Because of the nature of thin-modulus gloves, all nitrile and latex gloves can have pinholes. The FDA requires that medical gloves have a maximum AQL of 1.5 for holes, but the FDA minimum requirement for cleanroom and other non-medical gloves is only 2.5 – meaning more holes. Some cleanroom gloves, however, have a higher AQL than what is required. (All HandPRO brand cleanroom gloves, for instance, are manufactured with the lower AQL of 1.5 required for medical gloves.)

Based on this study, a thick nitrile or latex glove provided better safety than a thin nitrile glove or even a thick butyl glove in the case of nTiO2 in water.

As work in nanotechnology continues to skyrocket, no doubt additional studies will be conducted on other ENPs so that workers can be better protected.


 

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HandPRO Series 2400

HandPRO Series 2400 Clean Class Latex Gloves are 100% natural rubber latex for outstanding strength, stretch and fit. The fully-textured, powder-free glove is 12” long, double bagged, and compatible with ISO 5 and up.

Contact us to request your free sample pack.

Hand Hygiene Before Gloving – How Important?

Hand Hygiene Before Gloving - How Important?

If you work anywhere in the health care industry, you are likely aware of the importance of performing proper hand hygiene and glove use to reduce the spread of infectious organisms.

In the “Five Moments for Hand Hygiene” as outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO,) the first “moment” for performing hand hygiene is Before Patient Contact.

But is this step really necessary, especially when you are about to don a pair of gloves before touching the patient?

Recent studies on unused, non-sterile exam gloves removed from glove boxes in patient areas suggest it really is that important.

Glove Contamination in the ICU

At University Medical Center, a 412-bed tertiary care hospital in Lubbock, TX, a study compared rates and burden of non-sterile glove contamination among specialty ICUs.

A total of ninety glove pair samples were taken from occupied rooms in a 32-bed Medical ICU, a 21-bed Trauma/Surgical ICU, and a 6-bed Burn ICU.  The gloves were collected from glove boxes housed in glove box dispensers or patient carts in patient rooms where health care providers had unrestricted access to the gloves.

The results?

“We found an average contamination rate of 81.1% across all glove pairs sampled with an average bioburden of 5.83 CFU (SD = 8.04).”  These findings were consistent with previous studies, where contamination rates were 55-87% and average bioburdens ranged from 3.4-6.2 CFU per glove pair.

The study also found evidence of methicillin-resistant organism (MRO) contamination on 36.7% of glove pairs sampled.  The study noted that “because our contamination rate estimate most likely underestimates the true rate of MRO contamination due to the selective culturing process followed, actual rates of MRO contamination may be higher than those reported in this study.”

Pathogen Contamination in a Large Ward

Another study conducted in New Zealand investigated glove use on a hospital orthopaedic ward to examine whether pathogen contamination occurs prior to contact with patients.

Glove samples were removed from boxes on opening and days 3, 6 and 9 thereafter.

The results?

“Total bacterial counts ranged from 0 to 9.6 x 103 cfu/glove.  Environmental bacteria, particularly Bacillus species, were present on 31/38 (81.6%) of samples.  Half (19/38) the samples were contaminated with skin commensals; coagulase negative staphylococci were predominant.  Enterococcus faecalis , Klebsiella pneumoniae , Pseudomonas sp. or methicillin susceptible Staphylococcus aureus were recovered from 5/38 (13.2%) of samples.  Significantly more skin commensals and pathogens were recovered from samples from days 3, 6, 9 than box-opening samples.”

Clearly, both studies demonstrate that health care workers can introduce pathogenic bacteria into glove boxes, and unused, non-sterile exam gloves can become pathogen transmission vehicles in hospitals and potentially other healthcare settings.

Adhering to handwashing guidelines and performing hand hygiene before donning gloves is a critical, not to be skipped step in reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria.

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Understanding Glove Related Contact Dermatitis

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou may wear disposable nitrile, latex or vinyl gloves many hours each work day.  If your hands develop dry, itchy, irritated areas or blisters, you are understandably concerned.  Wearing gloves and having healthy skin is imperative in your line of work.

Could your gloves be to blame?  In this Q&A article, we’ll help you get the bottom of the types of glove related contact dermatitis, their causes, and how you might find a resolution for your skin condition.

Q.   What is contact dermatitis?

A.   Occupationally related contact dermatitis is a skin condition that can develop from frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products, exposure to chemicals and glove use. Contact dermatitis is classified as either irritant or allergic.

Irritant contact dermatitis is common, nonallergic, and develops as dry, itchy, irritated areas on the skin around the area of contact.  It is usually caused by an irritant, such as the chemicals commonly used in the manufacture of hand products and gloves.  It can also be caused by water, (including improper hand drying before donning gloves,) soaps, detergents, solvents, acids, alkalis and friction. Diagnosis is made by reviewing the patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and exclusion of Type IV and Type I hypersensitivity.  This is not an allergic reaction.

Allergic contact dermatitis (type IV hypersensitivity) often manifests as an itchy, red rash, sometimes with small blisters, beginning approximately 6 to 48 hours after contact.  Like irritant dermatitis, it is usually confined to the areas of contact.  It can result from exposure to accelerators and other chemicals used in the manufacture of most latex and non-latex gloves.  Diagnosis is made by reviewing the patient’s medical history, current symptoms and by performing a skin patch test.

Q.   What are chemical “accelerators?”

A.   Chemical accelerators are used in the glove manufacturing process to “accelerate” the linkage of rubber molecules in natural rubber latex or synthetic rubber latex, such as nitrile and vinyl. The chemicals transform the liquid rubber into a thin, strong and elastic glove film, and stabilizes the material.

These sulfur-based chemical accelerators (dithiocarbamates, thiurams and mercaptobenzothiazoles (MBT)) cause the majority of skin dermatitis reactions.

Q.   What are “accelerator-free” gloves?

A.   Accelerator-free gloves, like FreeStyle1100, and Scion700 are manufactured using a breakthrough cross-linking technology that does not use chemical accelerators (dithiocarbamates, thiurams and mercaptobenzothiazoles (MBT.)) The result is a thin, soft and stretchy glove that is actually stronger than traditionally manufactured nitrile glove material.

Q.   What does “Low Dermatitis Potential” mean?

A.   This is an FDA approved claim reserved for gloves that have been tested, and are 1) proven free of chemical accelerator residue, 2) will not induce skin irritation, and 3) will not cause any potential sensitization reaction.

Q.   How long should I try accelerator-free gloves?

A.   Each person is unique. Some individuals know within a few hours, while others require an extended trial of several days or even weeks to know if accelerator-free gloves will resolve their hand dermatitis. (Additional samples of FreeStyle1100 are available for individuals needing a longer period of time to evaluate the glove.)

Q.   Is there anything else in a glove that can cause allergic contact dermatitis?

A.   Yes.  Although 90% of glove allergies are caused by accelerators, the remaining individuals may be reacting to other substances sometimes used in the manufacture of gloves, such as lanolin, polyoxypropyleneglycol (a coagulant,) dyes (organic or inorganic,) quaternary ammonium compounds, and preservatives.

Q.  How important is it to resolve contact dermatitis early?

A.   Skin is an important barrier to bloodborne pathogens and disease. Broken skin due to ongoing irritation or allergy puts an individual at higher risk. A chronic skin condition is painful, and could result in an individual having to abandon their career choice.

Q.  I don’t have contact dermatitis. Should I still consider switching to an accelerator-free glove?

A.   Yes. According to NIOSH, “Because the prognosis of occupational irritant and allergic dermatitis is poor, prevention is imperative. This fact is emphasized by one study showing that 75% of patients with occupational contact dermatitis developed chronic skin disease.” (1) With thousands of potentially harmful chemicals being introduced into the workplace each year, it is important to reduce your exposure wherever possible.

References
NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,) Allergic & Irritant Dermatitis(1)
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Frequently Asked Questions, Contact Dermatitis and Latex Allergy

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5 Good Glove Fit Factors

There are many factors to consider when selecting a disposable glove.  After choosing the right glove type and glove material for the task, good fit ranks high on the list.  A properly fitted glove is critical to performing procedures correctly.   A glove that fits properly conforms to the hand, and does not feel too tight or too stiff.   Consider some glove physical characteristics that influence fit.

1.  Glove Length

Glove length is measured from the tip of the middle finger to the cuff.  Exam gloves are typically a minimum of 9” in length, while surgical gloves and some cleanroom gloves are 12” in length to provide more protection.

2.  Glove Width

The width of a glove is one of the most important considerations for proper glove fit.  Gloves are manufactured to specific ASTM glove standards, including palm width.  But there is a fairly wide range within each size.  A medium exam glove, for instance, can vary from 85mm to 105mm in width.   And there is room for overlap, so one manufacturer’s “medium” exam glove could be another manufacturer’s “large” glove.

3.  Finger Length and Width

Finger lengths and widths also vary between product lines from one manufacturer to another.  The finger length and width is largely determined by the formers used on the manufacturing line.  However, the glove material affects the amount of stretch, which affects finger fit.  A super stretchy, low protein latex glove works with the widest range of finger sizes, and could be a good choice for individuals with shorter fingers.  When it comes to nitrile gloves, the formulations range from “some stretch” to “very stretchy,” which affects finger fit.

4.  Glove Material

Glove thickness and stretchability also influences overall glove fit when donned.  If you are accustomed to wearing a “medium” glove in one brand, you may need to try a “small” or a “large” glove in another brand.  If you are trying a very thin glove, you may need to try a smaller size in order to get the proper fit.

5.  Finger Contour

Hand specific gloves with contoured fingers and a natural thumb position are most commonly found in surgical glove lines.  While offering the best fit, these gloves cost more than an examination glove.  Fortunately, ambidextrous nitrile exam gloves (gloves that can be worn on the left or right hand) made from newer, thinner nitrile material, allows the glove to warm and follow the contours of the hand, fingers and thumb to enhance comfort, improve tactile sensitivity, and reduce hand fatigue.

Finding a good fitting glove is essential.  A tight fitting glove can negatively affect fine motor skills, irritate the skin, and lead to hand fatigue.  On the other hand, a glove that fits too loose can cause a person to execute movements awkwardly, and potentially lead to exposure to bloodborne pathogens or hazardous chemicals.  Evaluating a glove’s ability to contour to the hand, and properly fit the width of the hand is key to finding a good fitting glove that you will enjoy wearing.

[note]Each of our HandPRO Exam Gloves offers a unique fit and stretch due to their different compounds.
Click on the glove below to request your sample pack:

AirSoft900 Nitrile Exam Gloves
Cirrus800 White Nitrile Exam Gloves
FreeStyle1100 Nitrile Exam Gloves with Low Dermatitis Potential
HandPRO 400 Latex Exam Gloves[/note]

Exam Gloves “Manufactured in Malaysia” – How Safe?

How safe are exam gloves manufactured in Malaysia?

Most of the exam gloves available here in the U.S. are manufactured and imported from other countries, such as Malaysia.  How can you be sure that you are getting a safe, reliable product?  Fortunately, manufacturers, importers and the government are working hard to ensure your safety.

FDA Regulation

Patient examination gloves are a class I medical device and subject to the controls of the FDA.  This class of disposable gloves is meant for medical purposes to protect the wearer’s hand and to prevent contamination between the patient and the wearer.   The gloves can be made from latex, vinyl or a polymer other than vinyl, such as nitrile or polyurethane.

To meet the FDA requirements for patient examination gloves, the product must meet a number of standards, including the following:

ASTM D5151 Standard Test Method for Detection of Holes in Medical Gloves
ASTM D6319 Standard Specification for Nitrile Examination Gloves for Medical Application
ASTM D6124 Standard Test Method for Residual Powder on Medical Gloves
ASTM D3578 Standard Test Method for Rubber Examination Gloves

Additionally, there are specific rules for labeling.  A powder-free nitrile exam glove that meets FDA requirements will have the words “powder-free nitrile examination glove” on the box.   Disposable latex, nitrile or vinyl gloves that do not include the word “examination” on the box are for general purpose use, and are not safe to use in medical, dental or other health care settings.

Ambiguous terms such as “extra-thick” or “super-sensitive” are not allowed on the box because they could be misleading.  The term “hypoallergenic” is strongly discouraged, as it cannot be scientifically defined.  Only factual and definitive statements are allowed.

Quality System Regulation

Medical glove manufacturers are required to meet the Quality System regulation for medical devices – 21 CFR part 820.  This regulation states that “each manufacturer must establish and maintain a quality system that is appropriate for the specific medical device . . . manufactured.”

Malaysian manufacturers run state-of-the-art facilities.  There are process controls for every single stage of manufacturing, from compounding , dipping and curing, to drying, powder removal and rinsing.  With proper process and quality controls, manufacturers are able to control or eliminate defects in gloves, such as pinholes, as well as control or minimize undesirable chemical residues.

Compliance Inspections

To ensure compliance, the FDA sends auditors to manufacturers, including foreign manufacturing sites, to perform factory inspections.  They review the facility, operations, environment and records to determine the level of compliance with the Quality System regulation.

When a glove shipment arrives at a US port, the FDA may hold the shipment and collect a sample of the gloves for testing.  If the sample fails, the FDA then detains all lots of the same glove type in the shipment, effectively removing them from the supply chain.  They may also hold shipments of gloves that have been misbranded with unsubstantiated claims, or are not labeled properly.

The relationship between glove manufacturers, importers and the FDA helps ensure that the exam gloves you wear will do the job they were meant to do – prevent contamination and keep you safe.  So the next time you see “Manufactured in Malaysia” on a box of gloves or product literature, you can be confident you are getting a quality product.

Share your comments below.

The Latest on Latex Glove-Related Allergy

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o reduce the risk of latex sensitization among healthcare workers, medical facilities in the U.S. and Europe have transitioned the majority of their glove usage from powdered latex gloves to powder-free nitrile and other synthetic gloves.   Additionally, a growing understanding of what led to the dramatic increase in latex allergy has resulted in changes to modern latex glove manufacturing to further reduce the risk – lowering the latex protein content, and eliminating cornstarch powder.

Have these changes lowered the risk of latex sensitization in healthcare workers?   Recent studies in Italy, China and Thailand shed some light.

A 10-year follow-up study of over 2000 healthcare workers in Trieste Hospitals in Italy was published in the May 2013 issue of International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.  The individuals represented 9,660 person-years of non-powdered latex glove use from 2000 to 2009.  The incidence of latex sensitization was 1 case per 1,000 person-years.  The researchers concluded that the rate of latex sensitization and latex-related symptoms was very low, “but subjects with allergic symptoms related to common allergens are at higher risk.” Non-latex gloves were suggested for these individuals.

In mainland China, powdered, natural rubber latex glove use is still widespread.  To learn the prevalence and risk factors for latex glove allergy among clinical nurses there, information was collected from over 8000 female nurses in 35 hospitals in eight provinces.  Almost 9% of the nurses surveyed had latex allergy.  The study concluded that Chinese nurses are at high risk for latex sensitization, and that “low-protein, powder-free natural rubber latex gloves, or latex-free gloves should be widely adopted in China.”

A cross-sectional study of female nurses in Thailand also demonstrated the higher risk of latex allergy associated with powdered latex gloves.  “Of 899 nurses, 18% reported health effects attributed to the use of latex products,” states the study.  It concluded that when compared to data from developed countries, the continued use of powdered latex gloves in developing countries is associated with increased prevalence of latex allergy dermal symptoms.

Clearly, regular use of powdered latex gloves with uncontrolled levels of latex proteins puts individuals at much greater risk for developing latex allergy, while modern, low-protein, powder-free latex gloves and powder-free nitrile gloves are a safer choice.

Have an opinion on powder-free latex gloves?  We’d love to hear from you.  Post your comments below.

Request Samples of HandPRO 400 Low Protein Latex Gloves

 

Disposable Gloves Reduce Risk of Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness.  No restaurant operator wants those words associated with their establishment.  To ensure their food is safe, many hours are devoted to employee education and ongoing training.  Hand hygiene and disposable gloves are an important part of safe food handling.

Restroom Germs and Cross-Contamination

A critical component to safe food handling is proper gloving and hand hygiene. “Restroom germs” such as E. coli, Staphylococcus, Giardia, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, and Shigella can be transmitted from hands to food.  Cross-contamination can also occur, transferring pathogens such as salmonella.  Restaurants offering gluten-free foods have the added concern of  gluten being accidentally transferred.

The problem of foodborne illness has real consequences – both for customers and food service establishments.  In 2009, a McDonald’s location in Illinois was linked to a hepatitis A outbreak that resulted in a class-action lawsuit.  And in New York City alone, dining out was linked to 3,500 hospitalizations in 2008 for food-borne illnesses and some 1,300 cases of salmonella.

But even if employees were always diligent about washing their hands, hand washing alone is not enough to prevent food-borne illness.  Routine hand washing does not remove all bacteria, and it only takes a small amount to make someone sick.  An additional barrier, such as a disposable glove, is needed.

FDA Food Code 2009

To help make food safer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an updated Food Code in 2009.  Here are some of the food handling rules:

  • Employees may not touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands, except when washing fruits and vegetables, or when otherwise approved.  They must use a barrier, such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs or gloves.
  • Wearing gloves is not a substitute for proper hand washing. Gloves can fail, and allow bacteria and viruses through, so employees must wash their hands before donning gloves to work with food.
  • Gloves should be changed often.  Gloves should be changed when they become damaged or soiled, after 4 hours of wear, or after handling raw foods.
  • Glove should be worn for a single task.  A food service employee should never handle money, take out the trash or perform other tasks and return to handling ready-to-eat food without changing their gloves.

Gluten-Free Food Handling

Restaurants such as Subway that are starting to offer gluten-free foods are giving special attention to hand hygiene and proper gloving and food handling.  And rightly so.  An employee that handles regular gluten-containing bread and then handles gluten-free bead without changing gloves has just cross-contaminated the food.  While this may not affect a customer with a non-celiac gluten intolerance, it spells real trouble for a customer with true Celiac Disease.

Glove Selection Considerations

Restaurant operators or managers selecting gloves for employees are necessarily concerned with cost.  But the cheapest gloves may not be the best choice.  Considering the following criteria will help ensure the right glove is purchased for the right job.

  • Proper Fit – For the safety of the employee, properly fitted gloves are essential.  Gloves that are too loose can result in serious bodily injury.  Glove that are too tight lead to hand strain.
  • Proper Material – Consider the dexterity needed for the tasks the employee is performing.  While a poly glove may be suitable for assembling a sandwich, a more form fitting nitrile glove is better suited for tasks like slicing and chopping.
  • Comfort – A comfortable glove that provides adequate grip and tactile sense will increase employee compliance and safety.
  • Allergens – Allergens and chemical sensitivities should be considered.  Employees concerned about latex sensitization should be offered a non-latex alternative, like nitrile gloves.  Please note that some individuals may be sensitive to the chemicals commonly found in non-latex gloves.  If this is the case, accelerator-free nitrile gloves like FreeStyle1100 are now available.

By carefully educating employees about hand hygiene and providing gloves that are suitable to the task and comfortable to wear, restaurant operators can be confident they are doing their part to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

HandPRO Gloves Get a Fresh, New Website

For most companies, each new year brings exciting opportunities to overcome challenges, launch new products and improve communication with customers and distribution partners.

We’re no different, and this year we are starting off right with a fresh, new website.

The new www.HourglassIndustries.com brings you new information and new features, all designed to improve your experience.

Read moreHandPRO Gloves Get a Fresh, New Website

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